A Grand mistake | AspenTimes.com

A Grand mistake

Dear Editor:

It’s a bit sad to see the very limited range of choices the folks down in Glenwood Springs looked at while evaluating designs for the upcoming replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge over the Colorado River.

What Glenwood really needs is an elevated highway bypass, which would divert Highway 82 at the Grand-Glen Avenue intersection (Alpine Bank corner), and run it alongside the Roaring Fork River before crossing a new Colorado River bridge aligned with the current Interstate 70 interchange at Sixth and Laurel streets (by the Village Inn).

Engineers could use a double-post design to leave room for the rail and trail beneath the new section of highway.

Just the congestion-relieving benefits to downtown Glenwood Springs would make it worth doing.

Oh, well – maybe next century.

The lack of any “grander” ideas for Grand Avenue is especially sad considering that there is sufficient taxing capacity under the regional transportation authority, which finances RFTA to build both the solution above and a new Entrance to Aspen. We never hear about this funding source, apparently because certain transit advocates still think they’re going to build a train someday.

It would be about a hundred times more cost-effective to use sales taxes to eliminate highway deficiencies at both ends of the valley (and a few locations in the middle) than to continue building a transit empire that serves only a tiny fraction of our travel needs. When we build highway improvements with local money, the state maintains the road and eventually repays the capital costs back to the local jurisdictions. When we build more mass transit, we create a never-ending stream of expenses for maintenance and operations, which local jurisdictions must continue to pay – forever.

What would it be like if the activist mentality among elected officials, which leads to massive amounts of money being lavished on redundant and extravagant transit projects, were applied to rational actions for our highways?

Let’s not wait until the next century to find out. Please.

Jeffrey Evans


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